Although sheep numbers have been reduced, there are still about 1,000 ewes plus their lambs to care for at Thimbleby Farms, near Northallerton, North Yorkshire. Reason enough, then, to invest in a new handling system

A large ewe flock and 200 suckler cows make use of the grassland at Thimbleby Farms, where the road through the village is the dividing line between the farm’s acreage in the North York Moors National Park and its ‘lower ground’. The estate, at just under 1,215ha, combines farming with a private shoot and extensive mixed woodland, and approximately half of the area is heather moorland.

While it is very much a commercially run farming business with sound justification required for all capital expenditure, the accent is on everything being ‘done right’ and with an eye on aesthetics. And that applies to the new sheep handling system, which has replaced a 30-year-old wooden facility, and the soon-to-be-completed beef buildings and handling system.

Thimbleby Farms manager is Ben Rab, who designed the sheep handling set-up in conjunction with James Heath of supplier LM Bateman. “Although it is located on the same 47m by 17m area, it’s now all concreted, and the only part surviving from the old system is the circular dip bath, which was in good condition,” explains Mr Rab. “So the new system was effectively constructed around the dip. In addition to the necessary races I also wanted plenty of pens, and that’s what we now have.”

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